Task force presents report on killer Kaburengu stretch on Eldoret-Webuye highway to Governor Oparanya
By Alexander Chagema
| September 7th 2021
Missing signposts and road marks have been cited as major causes of tragic accidents between the Kipkaren-Kaburengu stretch of the Eldoret-Webuye highway.
A taskforce formed by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to probe the cause of frequent accidents along the road also identified lack of speed bumps, irregular matatu stages and buildings on road reserve as contributing factors.
The team was set up after Oparanya visited the scene of the August 26 grisly road accident at Mukhonje market in Lugari sub-county.
Careless driving and narrow bridges have also contributed massively to the accidents that have rocked the road for many years.
The latest accident happened after a fuel tanker traveling from Eldoret lost control and hit another fuel tanker that had slowed down to go over a speed bump at the market.
The impact drove both tankers into a saloon car parked by the roadside and in turn, the saloon car hit a matatu that had stopped at the stage to pick passengers. And when the dust had settled, seven people lay dead.
Residents who witnessed the incident were terrified after seeing pieces of human bones left scattered at the scene moments after a fierce fire erupted burning occupants of the matatu.
“The petrol tanker’s brakes must have failed because the driver alerted oncoming motorists by switching on the truck's headlights and enforced the warning with a blaring horn,” Edward Sayia, proprietor of Ingwe summit bar at whose doorstep the accident happened said. “The trailer hit a power transformer and fire broke out."
The taskforce’s recommendations have addressed some of the issues raised by local leaders who included area MP Ayub Savula.
The leaders had also urged the county government to set up a hospital and a response station at Lumakanda to deal with accident emergencies. They also asked the governor to have a fire engine stationed at Lumakanda.
Other demands included the relocation of the accident-prone power transformer that has been hit a record seven times since 2018. Additionally, the residents requested that the matatu stage at Mukhonje be moved and also asked the governor to ensure more speed bumps were put up.
In a brief ceremony at Maturu Primary School on Sunday, Oparanya gave out over Sh1 million from the county government as compensation for families of the victims. He also said his government had cleared hospital bills for the seven people who were taken to Webuye sub-county hospital.
The task force attributed the spate of accidents to speeding, lack of road signs, irregular bus stages and encroachment on the road by traders.
“I urge KeNHA (Kenya National Highways Authority) to erect bumps along the road and also put road signs to direct road users,” Oparanya said. The governor directed county enforcement officers to move traders away from the road and arrest those who disobey.
“Kenya Power has confirmed it will relocate the transfer from the market,” Oparanya assured residents. He also promised that a high mast street light will be erected at Mukhonje in two weeks’ time and tasked MCAs with sensitising residents on the dangers of vandalising road signs.
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